How did three 20/30-somethings with a passion for drugs and sex and rock and roll get so illuminati-scale major? By not giving a fuck, as chronicled in The VICE Guide to Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, a best-of compilation of VICE. The VICE editors have revamped straight male skater culture into a hilarious cross-section of the fried brains of urban youth, and it ranges from really stupid, to totally offensive, to surprisingly intelligent and sensitive--but never, ever reverent or spineless.
VICE works precisely because it's full of contradictions. One minute, an article will piss you off because of its blatant disregard for humanity (or, more specifically, feminists and queers), and the next minute, you'll be calling everyone you know so they can read the most accurate, pro-woman guide to eating pussy you've ever read. And just when you're cringing at the staff's nonchalant use of the epithets "paki," "faggot," or "nigga," they'll print a very cogent essay about the negative ramifications of political correctness and the censorship of discourse. A hilarious article about a woman's "immaculate pink asshole" bookends a chronicle of US state-sponsored terrorism; it goes on like that, and can be frustrating in its discord, but that's exactly why you keep coming back for more: to see what limits they push next.
Regardless of where it hits you on your personal "offended" scale, it's apparent that to summarily write off VICE magazine would be to ignore one of the only national publications that promotes actual dialogue about what's going on in American street culture--even if it's by accident. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
VICE is available for free at Ozone, Phase 3, and Heaven Coffee, in case you don't feel like paying $29 for this book.